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Cutting Waste, Food

The Too Good To Go magic bag | Go and get discounted food to feed your family

Too Good To Go magic bag

If I told you that there was a way to get food for less, but you can’t choose what you’ll get, would you go for it? There’s been a lot of talk about the Too Good To Go magic bag. These are particularly hard to review, because you’ll never get the same haul twice. But I thought I’d explain how the app and the concept works, so you can decide if you’d like to give it a try for yourself.

What’s the Too Good To Go app?

Too Good To Go is an app, which connects people with surplus food. Cafes, restaurants, corner shops and other organisations use it to get rid of excess food stock. The clue is in the name of the app; the food is too good to end up in the bin.

What are magic bag?

Companies use the app to sell off Too Good To Go magic bags. The concept is pretty simple; you pay a fixed amount and you will get a random assortment of food.

Which food companies are on there?

The companies listed naturally vary from place to place. But you can expect to find a range of outlets; I’ve seen bakeries, supermarkets, corner shops, burrito stalls, sushi restaurants and food-waste charities on there. I have also seen highstreet companies, including Greggs, Morrisons, Costa and Starbucks.

How can I get a Too Good To Go magic bag?

Companies list their bags up on the app, for collection the next day. But once they’re gone they’re gone. If you’d like to get a bag from a specific place, then you just need to ensure that you’re checking the app regularly.

You will also have a specific pick-up time, determined by the magic bag provider. Collection tends to be just before the establishment is set to close.

What will I get in my Too Good To Go magic bag?

This is the question that everybody wants the answer to, right? What will you get? Well it’s a question that’s impossible to answer. Your Too Good To Go magic bag could contain anything. It will be a surprise. But obviously you will have some idea of what you might get. A bag that comes from Greggs, for example, is pretty likely to contain pasties, pies, or pastries!

You will, however, find that the full price items would cost more to buy than your Too Good To Go bag was.

My box of goodies – bags of food!

To give you an idea, I priced up what I received from a local food waste project, by comparing it with Tesco’s prices. I’ve tried to compare like for like and whilst it won’t be an exact calculation, it should give you an idea of what it is possible for you to receive.

This particular Too Good To Go magic bag cost me £5. Here’s what I got:

  • 25 chicken sausages (worth around £5).
  • 1 packet of 8 lean bacon medallions (worth around £2.25).
  • 500g of lean turkey meat (worth around £3.40).
  • 1 x 400g medium brown loaf (worth around 85p).
  • 4 pints of semi-skimmed milk (worth around £1.09).
  • 2 pints of Alpro coconut milk (worth around £1.80).
  • 1 x tub of cheese sauce (worth around £1.45).
  • 400g microwavable tub of Pilau rice (worth around £1.50).
  • 1kg of strawberries (worth around £2.00).
  • 3 x Tesco’s Finest green veg selection (worth around £2.60 each; £7.80 in total).
  • 2 x Tesco’s stir fry selection (worth around £1.00; £2.00 in total).
  • 2 x vegetable soup kits (worth around £0.85; £1.70 in total).
  • 3 x 5 packs of Soreen fruit and veg bakes (worth around £1; £3 in total).
  • 5 x Ginsters Moroccan vegetable pasties (worth around £1.75; £8.75 in total).
  • 3 x buffalo chicken lattice pastries (no alternative price comparison found).
  • Bacon and cheese straws (no alternative price comparison found).
  • 3 x packs of 2 Orchard Barn sliders (no alternative price comparison found).
  • 1 x packet of Knorr mushroom risotto (no alternative price comparison found).

So my £5 Too Good To Go magic bag contained items that would have cost around £42.59 full price and that’s not including the items that I was unable to find a price comparison for. This, of course, isn’t actually like for like, as all of the items I received were very close to their sell-by date. I also got them from a food-waste project, with a community supermarket, which means that they will have been sold for much less than the advertised price at Tesco’s. But however you look at it, that’s a lot of grub for a fiver.

Will every bag be that good?

The example listed above was pretty decent. I basically got a weekly shop for £5. But not all Too Good To Go magic bags were created equal, so you shouldn’t purchase one expecting anything in particular.

You can, however, see what percentage of users rated their purchase at least 4 out of 5 stars. You can also see highlights from the user feedback. This will include things like: ‘great value’, ‘great amount of food’ and ‘quick collection’. You’ll also see how many reviews there have been and over what time frame. So you’ll have something to gauge if that particular Too Good To Go magic bag is worth buying.

What if you can’t eat it all?

When you get one of these magic bags, there’s always the risk that you’ll get something that you don’t like, or won’t be able to eat in time. So if you do decide to get one of these Too Good To Go magic bags, then it makes sense to have a plan for the food that you won’t be able to eat. You could pass it on to a neighbour, or add it to a sharing app like OLIO.

Are these magic bags worth it?

I have previously talked about yellow reduced stickers and the reasons why I don’t actively seek them out. But I would buy a magic bag if I happened to see one that I fancied, just like I’d put a discounted chicken in my trolley in the supermarket, if it happened to catch my eye.

This app provides a way for companies and organisations to offload surplus stock. If you happen to have the app open and there’s a Too Good To Go magic bag available, then I think it makes sense to snap it up. As long as you plan to eat the food. But if you get the food and you’re not able to eat it all, then you should try and pass it on to somebody that can make use of it.

Check out my foodies section for similar types of hacks.

Hacks: the too good to go bag - what to expect